Skip to main content

5-month-old baby killed by airport baggage carousel in Spain

By Al Goodman, CNN
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • It's not clear how the baby ended up on the baggage carousel
  • The mother, an American, also had another young child with her
  • Authorities believe it was an accident but are investigating

Madrid (CNN) -- Spanish investigators are trying to figure out how a 5-month-old baby died on a baggage carousel at an airport in Alicante.

A spokeswoman for Spain's airport authority, AENA, said Thursday it's not clear how the baby ended up on the baggage belt for oversized luggage.

"The baby was on the baggage carousel, but could not have gotten there alone. Someone had to put the baby there. I don't know how the baby got there," said the airport spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.

The infant's mother, an American woman, arrived at the airport late Wednesday on a flight from London's Gatwick airport with her baby and another young child, the spokeswoman said. The father, who is Canadian, was already there waiting at the Alicante airport, she added.

The baggage carousel is a flat, black rubber-type belt that moves only in one direction and is only activated when oversized bags are sent out on it for pickup. It's several feet long and passengers can stand on either side of it or at the receiving end, the spokeswoman said.

She said it was not immediately known if the infant was placed on the belt while it was stopped, or once it had started moving.

An unidentified security officer at the airport told CNN affiliate Atlas she didn't see the incident, but was told that "the mother apparently put (the baby) down on the conveyer belt when she went to reach for something. He was crushed by the conveyer belt and it killed him."

Airport medical personnel rushed to the scene but were unable to revive the infant, the spokeswoman said.

The Spanish Civil Guard said the baby's death appears to be an accident, but an investigation is under way.

At a loss: Comforting grieving parents

After the baby was pronounced dead, the family had to wait for a judge to arrive, by Spanish law, so that the body could be moved. Civil Guards took statements from the parents at the airport, the airport spokeswoman said.

The baggage belt for oversized luggage -- which includes infant car seats and baby strollers -- is at one end of a large baggage claims hall at the Alicante airport, which handles 9 million passengers a year, the spokeswoman said.

The baggage carousel is in a secure area, and passengers go through it to claim their bags before they exit into the public arrivals hall. The father of the baby would not have had access to that area, the airport spokeswoman said.

Civil Guard and National Police spokesmen confirmed the nationalities of the mother and father as American and Canadian, respectively.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Madrid said that U.S. Consular officials are aware of the incident and are providing assistance.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy in Madrid said she could not comment and referred inquiries to the Canadian government's Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported the family had come to the Alicante area, on Spain's Mediterranean coast, for vacation, but authorities would not immediately confirm that.

When terrible things happen: Helping children heal

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2131 GMT (0531 HKT)
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 0440 GMT (1240 HKT)
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1552 GMT (2352 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT